I love eating al fresco and one of the highlights of my recent trip to Whistler was taking part in the Araxi Long Table Dinner at Rainbow Park.
We were lucky enough to have two tastes of Chef James Walt’s BC cuisine, as we also visited Araxi restaurant, in Whistler, for dinner one night as well. The emphasis is on fresh, local food and we were served:
Wild BC salmon with quinoa and chive risotto, crispy green asparagus and summer vegetable powder, with yuzu, olive oil and chive vinaigrette.
Slow cooked pork belly and roasted pork loin with corn and herb salsa, with ricotta gnocchi.
Raspberry Napoleon with fresh raspberries, sable biscuit, honey-lavender pastry cream, raspberry coulis and Chantilly cream.
We had some great local wine pairings including JoieFarm wine, which is hard to get outside of Whistler/Vancouver restaurants and Elephant Island Framboise a delicious raspberry wine that went perfectly with pudding.
The next day we joined Araxi again at the beautiful lakeside setting of Rainbow Park for their Long Table Dinner.
On arrival we had gin cocktails (from local Pemberton Distillery) and canapés including Windset Farm vegetable gazpacho, smoked Yarrow Meadow duck breast and Saw Mill Bay oysters. Local producers Araxi work with had a mini farmers’ market on site as well.
Soon we all sat down at the long table and dinner was served…
Tofino Dungeness Crab stuffed into North Arm Farm squash blossoms with Root Down Farm organic greens, basil and cherry tomato vinaigrette was first up. I love love love crab and so I was totally in my element and this all slipped down with a nice LaStella pinot grigio from the southern Okanagan http://www.lastella.ca, paired by Araxi’s wine director Samantha Rahn.
Next up, all served family-style, was hot smoked BC sockeye salmon with Root Down organic Ruby Streak with lemon verbena dressing, local baby golden beets and shaved radish. Check out the candy-cane coloured beetroots! It was a real taste of BC summer and was washed down with another Okanagan wine – this time a Le Vieux Pin rose.
For our main course we had Pemberton Meadows natural beef, which was a rosemary roasted loin that came with an agnolotti (pasta) of beef cheeks and shortrib, accompanied by baby carrots and a red wine jus. A Le Vieux Pin Syrah was perfectly paired (I was starting to feel very relaxed by this point).
As the sun started to peak through over the mountains, dessert was brought to our table: a pretty plate of Pemberton strawberries with honey lavender meringue and Okanagan goat cheese mousse, mini strawberry tarts with local Lillooet honey pastry cream and a very refreshing strawberry-basil consommé. All accompanied by a delightfully sweet LaStella Moscato d’Osoyoos.
By the time the macaroons came out I was completely blissed out – from the backdrop of the mountains and lake to the fresh local food and communal chit-chat, the Long Table experience was a perfect slice of how summer should be spent.
Come on summer 2013, get a move on so I can go again!